Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Ashley (2013) @ Sprawl

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Nicole Fox and Nicole Buehrer negotiates the awkward morning after in Ashley.

pulut santan binasa ASHLEY
Hey, look! Another nipple poster.
At a glance:
Domenic Migliore's snailwork of a story Ashley (2013) a.k.a. Sprawl is an exercise in teen frustration that renders itself all too well at the hands of the director, Dean Matthew Ronalds. From the attractive poster, I'd thought it might be somethin like Flashdance (1983) meets Lolita (1997), or maybe even Gia (1998) meets Crush (1993). Turns out it's an indie drama scarcely worth watchin even for 22-year-old lead Nicole Fox, the fashion model starlet best known as the winner of Cycle 13 of America's Next Top Model. She plays a sullen 17-year-old student faced with a catalogue of personal problems like self-harm, bullyin, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, buddin homosexuality and a general disenchantment with life. She lives with her alcoholic single mum (Jennifer Taylor), who blames her husband's death on her. Gosh, if she only had AIDS this would be the middle-class suburban white version of Precious (2012), wouldn't it?
Bad news on the doorstep:
"I'm a teenager!"
I think a critical flaw in this effort is the surprisin lack of any moral resolution to the proceedings, but what upsets me the most is that the movie has little, if at all, to say about the human condition. There's plenty of amateurish camerawork to pick on, too. What will probably stop you in your tracks is the overdone soundtrack which is saturated with annoyin teenybopper music, tense piano pieces and even opera tracks -- all of which hardly improve the scenes. Hell, there's no tension to the narrative and sometimes I can't even bloody hear what the characters are sayin!
Perennial wonderment:
Michael Madsen:
Most hardworking cameo actor today.
Oh there goes Michael Madsen again, makin yet another five minute cameo in any shoestring indie project that could do with better billings. Didn't I just watch him last night in Nomad (2013) mumblin and barkin at someone as usual? Somewhere in the world, it's payday for Michael Madsen. Here, he collects after tellin Ashley what veal is and then tryin to cop a feel. What a plonker.
Reminds me of:
"This is how I feel about heterosexual sex and polite conversation."
That equally meanderin melodrama About Cherry (2012) starrin Ashley Hinshaw, about how a young girl becomes a porn star. By the way, there's hardly any nudity here, save maybe for an awkward phone sex scene. Oh wait, Nicole Fox does take her bathrobe off somewhere near the end, if you actually get anywhere near that.
Nicole Fox disappears into Ashley.
[Photo credit migliorephoto.com]
I can't remember if I cried:
Once the end credits rolled. Sheesh. Remember, I watch bad movies so you don't have to. If you paid to see this, you'd be mean enough to say it ain't too far off from a voyeur cam, the footage of a girl smokin, cuttin herself, smokin again, playin on her laptop and smokin again.
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So was that endin an attempt at an emotional payoff? If I were payin enough attention, this movie actually has a very dangerous message. Me, I'm off to rewatch The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things (2004) to forget about all this palaver.1/2
Bonus material:
Here are some production photos and a few movie stills if you insist on watchin it. You could also go check out the official website and the Facebook fan page.
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America's Next Top Model Nicole Fox gives two for the cause.

How every successful relationship begins -- online.
Jennifer Taylor is quite nice to look at, actually.
Anne Elisabeth as Sammy, Deanna Moore as Carly and Reid Cox as Summer.
Day #8 - Nicole Fox as Ashley, Reid Cox as Summer, Deanna Moore as Carly and Anne Elisabeth as Sammy.
That's the writer. Really.
Producer Brian Ronalds. Well, at least they had fun making the movie, right?
(Photo credit: Facebook)